December 10, 2021


Watching football with your 11 y/o daughter is fun because when you get frustrated at your team, she asks calming questions like, “Daddy, do you really think you can do better than the players?”

--Jolly Old St. NicholasG, @Dad_At_Law

weekly tip

With the millions traveling, omicron swirling and winter weather at play, holiday travel can be a, well, special experience… So, if you’re braving the air ways or road ways (or any other ways) in the coming days, be sure to check out these tips from travel industry experts first.

trail talk

Late last week the CDC announced when children who’ve been exposed to Covid-19 are tested regularly for the virus at school, they can safely remain in class rather than quarantining after every exposure. The CDC released results from two studies examining these “test-to-stay” programs and showing their effectiveness. Crucially, in both, children were masked. Those who were exposed to a positive case were closely monitored for symptoms, told to stay home if they became sick and tested regularly while still at school, meaning at least twice during the seven days after exposure. “These studies demonstrate that test-to-stay works to keep unvaccinated children in school safely,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, calling it “a promising and now proven practice.” Given our ongoing struggle with this awful pandemic, the surge in cases from the Omicron variant and data on how harmful lost school days are for children, it’s a hopeful sign—if schools have the resources to implement it…

Although most of the holiday gift-giving focus is on children, this article really caught our attention because instead it’s about how to support parents in need. This piece recommends organizations that helps parents get diapers for their children (the lack of which provokes as much worry as food or housing insecurity for some), others that work to improve maternal health in this country—especially for women of color who “are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts”—and still others that provide legal assistance to workers who are also caregivers. If you’re looking to add some meaning to your gifting this holiday season by donating money, these groups are an excellent place to start.

trail matters

One of the biggest contributors to climate change is methane gas emissions. In fact, these emissions account for 30 percent of global warming and livestock, like cattle, are responsible for about one-third of all emissions. But, a recent discovery suggests that feeding seaweed to cows could virtually erase the problem. How? As it turns out, seaweed makes cows less gassy. And, if they burp less, they will emit less methane. Sounds wild, we know, but because a single cow emits as much methane in one year as a small car, the finding could be seriously game-changing. Scientists have even discovered a species of seaweed called Asparagopsis from Australia that seems to completely eliminate methane emissions from livestock. Now they just have to reliably grow enough of it and get enough farmers to give it to their animals. Not a small task, but success—that is “eliminating almost all methane from almost all cows on Earth”—would be “roughly equivalent to eliminating all the emissions from the U.S., or the equivalent of taking every car off the road globally.” Simply huge. 

trail treasures

Since many of our children have been opening presents this month or are about to do so, this piece about the importance of gender-neutral toys seemed particularly germane. Although the gendering of toys has a long history, and has had its ups and downs in terms of popularity or intensity, the toy industry these days seems to be agreeing that specifying who should play with what isn’t really the best idea anyone’s ever had...(no real surprise there!) Instead, companies like Target and umbrella groups like the Toy Association are eschewing “boy” and “girl” toy categories in favor of more specific delineations. Think: action figures, dolls, STEAM toys, etc. It’s important, the story explains, because children should use toys to follow their interests and to learn, not to be pigeonholed into thinking they can—or should—only do certain things. As one expert quoted in the story said, “It is problematic when you're circumscribing options and saying this whole range of things is only for girls and this range of things is only for boys.” As our own children might say: um, duh.

yard sale

This kid’s sure got the holiday spirit…!